A French Catholic priest, Tony Anatrella, who once served as a Vatican adviser regarding sexuality, is facing a church trial over alleged sexual relationships with his male clients.
The priest, 80, has a history of supporting anti-LGBTQ+ rights initiatives including authoring an article that supported a ban on queer people serving in the priesthood, according to Queerty. The website also reported that he claimed gay men raised violent children.
Anatrella has had a history of sexual assault allegations as well, according to The National Catholic Reporter. The outlet reported that allegations have been circulating for almost 20 years. French dioceses sent seminarians thought to be gay to Anatrella who said he could suppress their sexual orientation. He has denied the allegations against him.
He was banned from ministering in 2018.
There have been three complaints made in the French courts against Anatrella. Two of those cases were dismissed because the statutes of limitation had passed; the other was dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Daniel Lamarca, a former seminarian who was sent to Anatrella in the 1980s, reportedly told media in 2006 that the priest had told him he could cure his homosexuality through having sex with him, reported The National Catholic Reporter.
In 2016, more accusations were brought against Anatrella.
Philippe Lefebvre, a priest and theologian, warned about Anatrella for over a decade.
Lefebvre told a French weekly in 2018 that following an article arguing against some of Anatrella’s theological arguments, several people reached out with stories of abuse. He claimed there was an effort to protect Anatrella by French bishops.
In 2019, authorities in Paris received a report related to the assault of a 14-year-old boy. The boy is now grown and said that Anatrella abused him while Anatrella was his high school’s chaplain.
The charges against Anatrella and the date of the trial have not been announced.